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Ghost stories: The critics reviews


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Source: http://www.nme.com/reviews/coldplay/15307?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=coldplayreview


Once upon a time, picking over Chris Martin lyrics was a sport, a race to guess the rhyming word. Like Noel Gallagher — and doesn't that just trip off the tongue? — Martin seemed to be filling up space, chucking in a few platitudes to bulk up the bars between big choruses. He may not be Dylan just yet, but everyone will be parsing 'Ghost Stories' for a different sort of clue, maybe even hamfisted attempts to rhyme "conscious" and "coupling". Go on, chalk that up.


Actually, perhaps he is a bit Dylan. If Coldplay are ever going to make their own 'Blood On The Tracks' (and if you've been holding your breath for that, you're probably in some strife now) this is the time. There was a collective sigh when news broke that Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow were splitting up. We've all lost something here, the beguiling image of the awkward, everyman, not-quite rockstar wooing the Hollywood superstar — but perhaps we can all gain something too. A raw, true Coldplay album might be an unexpectedly meaty treat for the masses, and a weight off Martin's shoulders.


They've gone in eyes open, intending to adjust both sound and position, and it's a familiar strategy. There's always been a touch of the U2s about Coldplay's trajectory, from the vertiginous climb to the stadium big league to, naturally, the hiring of Brian Eno's fairydust talents. Compared album by album, it might go something like this: 'X&Y' was as complacent as 'Rattle & Hum', 'Viva La Vida' — with its knowing "Enoxification", lively embrace of pure pop and awareness of its surroundings — was as seminal as 'Achtung Baby'. Neatly, we can call the 'Prospekt's March' their 'Zooropa', while 'Mylo Xyloto' was 'Pop' from every angle, all shrill, disjointed highs, little triangles of bunting in search of a thread. That puts 'Ghost Stories' alongside 'All That You Can't Leave Behind'. A return to core principles. Next thing, Martin will be buying his hat first class tickets around the world.


But this isn't quite early Coldplay rebooted. It shares a simple sparseness with 'Parachutes', but the approach is radically different. In harness with producers as diverse as Paul Epworth, Timbaland and Avicii, Coldplay have never sounded more electronic. Where 'Ghost Stories' really differs from 'Mylo Xyloto' is in a sharp dialling down of intensity, sonically if not lyrically, with only the Avicii-led 'A Sky Full Of Stars' cutting loose, and even then as a hesitant retread of 'Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall'. It's a reluctance that feels quite normal; introspection doesn't invite the poppers. The real heart of 'Ghost Stories' is in the warped Bon Iver-isms of 'Midnight' with its devastated plea to "leave a light on", in the beaten but unbowed bareness of 'Magic' ("If you were to ask me/After all that we've been through/Still believe in magic?/Yes, I do/Of course I do"), in the gorgeously off-key synth loops of 'Oceans' and in the choppy dubstep textures of 'True Love' where Martin croaks, "One last time/Tell me you love me," and we all start to feel his own hollowness. For an album that apparently began, for the very first time, with other members providing the kernels of tracks, this doesn't half feel like a Chris Martin solo record.


And in that sense it was never going to provide fireworks. 'Ghost Stories' is a feeling more than a collection of songs, and takes a willing reception for granted. That feeling's not rancorous, it's bloodless and resigned, but touching as well. In its warm, delicate drift, this is a quiet success and, as the choral voices and synth glitches of 'Always In My Mind' bookend the album, there's a suggestion it's been parcelled up and everyone can move on. It's all part of the process.







A pretty well written review from the NME...

They gave MX 5/10 so maybe they have mellowed

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Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/05/13/coldplay-album-review/9012963/


Within the realm of memorable breakup albums, Coldplay's Ghost Stories (** ½ out of four) lacks the confessional gut-punch of Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, the acrimony of Richard and Linda Thompson's Shoot Out the Lights and the irresistible sonic appeal of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. In fact, the band's sixth studio album and first since 2011's Milo Xyloto isn't even a particularly memorable Coldplay album.


Frontman and vocalist Chris Martin, whose marriage to Gwyneth Paltrow was crumbling during the writing and recording of the album, pours aspects of that experience into nearly all of the nine song's lyrics. But the results tend to be either mopey or emotionally restrained — things to avoid if you intend to profit from your pain. Maybe spending some time in Nashville would have helped.


When Martin sings in True Love, "I've lost you now/you let me go/But one last time/Tell me you love me/if you don't then lie/oh lie to me,'' it's sad, of course, and a bit pathetic, but there's no need to lock the liquor cabinet or anything.


It doesn't help that the band has shifted from its grandiose and uplifting arena-size sound to a leaner approach that relies more on simple piano and acoustic guitar accompaniment. That serves some of these songs well, especially Magic, but you'll crave the synthesizer rush that comes only with Always in My Head, A Sky Full of Stars (featuring guest producer Avicii) and True Love.


Those last two are the highlights of a minor album dealing with a tough but endurable setback in an otherwise charmed life. For the wounded spinners of Ghost Stories, it's time to saddle up those unicorns and head for the next chapter.



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Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music-arts/coldplay-ghost-stories-transparent-unsexy-review-article-1.1789734


Coldplay's 'Ghost Stories' is transparent and unsexy: album review


The ‘conscious uncoupling’ of Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow is an obvious theme on Coldplay’s new release, but Martin’s heartbreak produced a boring, deflated album. 2 stars.


You don't have to be Sigmund Freud to figure out the deep inner meaning of the new Coldplay album. Each and every song addresses the "conscious uncoupling" heard 'round the world between band leader Chris Martin and soon-to-be-ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow.


"Ghost Stories" — officially out on May 20 but streaming now on iTunes First Listen — finds Martin curled up in the fetal position, mewling non-stop about the love that let him down.


"For a second I was in control," he moans in "True Love." "I had it once/I lost it though."

"Feels like something broken inside," he echoes in the song "Ink," which mentions a tattoo he got of his love's name — an image that now only serves to mock him. "All I know is that I'm lost/whenever you go."


In the video for the album's single, "Magic," a woman throws knives directly at his face.

Of course, there's no finer inspiration for art than a broken heart. Unfortunately, it hasn't had so elevated an effect on Martin. It seems to have sucker-punched him, deflating any momentum in the beat or articulation in the melodies. Only one track speeds the rhythm. Even those that feature more aggressive percussion, isolate it, leaving the rest of the track barren.

Call it music for those with "Low T."


Whatever the opposite of Viagra is, Martin seems to have swallowed it before his creative process began.

This isn't a new problem for Coldplay. They began as a modest band of balladeers who — through a mix of expert marketing and a general trend towards wimpier rock — helped them fill arenas and soared them to the top of the charts. While their music, here and earlier, features fine and elaborate production, the core of their songs remain pale.

A new piece like "Midnight" has the dubious distinction of sounding remarkably like an act Coldplay first influenced. It's a dead-ringer for the most milky and blurred songs of Bon Iver.


If the new music has the consistency of loose porridge, the lyrics prove just as watered down. Martin's pain hasn't brought out fresh language or interesting perspectives. Only in the very last song, "Fly On," does Martin get out of his own head, writing about love as a fickle, flying thing. It's a poignant image, if a borrowed one, specifically from Neil Young's classic on the subject, "Birds."

It's a shame. A heartbreak is a terrible thing for a songwriter to waste. But the ache of "Ghost Stories" doesn't haunt. It bores.







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Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/music/first-review-coldplays-ghost-stories-is-chris-martins-love-letter-to-gwyneth-paltrow/story-fni0bvjn-1226916012251


THE year’s most anticipated rock album is also Coldplay’s least-rock album.


Ghost Stories is Coldplay’s most subtle album since their debut Parachutes, and also their most electronic — and emotional.


Even before frontman Chris Martin announced his split from wife Gwyneth Paltrow the band had stated they’d not do the usual barrage of interviews for the project.


Now we see why; these are the most public statements on Martin’s admirably private relationship, filled with soul-baring lyrics ready to be analysed given recent events.


Paltrow called it ‘Conscious Uncoupling’.


Martin opts for a less Oprah take on his feelings.


You saw Sad Kanye, now hear Sad Chris.


“I’ve lost you now, you let me go,” he sings on True Love. “But one last time, tell me you love me, if you don’t then lie to me.”


That’s the tone here on this pre-divorce album, a broken man sharing his pain with the world via a love letter to his soon-to-be-ex wife. There’s times you feel like you’re eavesdropping.


Dig around the credits of their sixth album — which is available to stream for free on iTunes — and the band thank their partners and children by just using their first initials — there’s ’amg’ — Apple, Moses and Gwyneth.


Apple and Moses Martin are also credited as guest vocalists on final track O, a simple piano ballad using a metaphor of losing love as birds flying away. It’s hard to detect their voices, but a nice gesture from dad.


There’s also a quote on the sleeve notes that shows all that time around Paltrow rubbed off on Martin: ‘Suffering teaches sweet understanding’. It’s credited to Marshall Ball — a man who cannot walk or speak but writes spiritually-charged books of wisdom. It’s very on brand with Paltrow’s website Goop.


Subversive hit and minimal single Magic was a great musical introduction to the DNA of Ghost Stories. As was the even more subversive, even more minimal Midnight.


That track sees Coldplay renew their relationship with experimental electronic producer Jon Hopkins, sampling his tune The Fourth State II. They’d previously used some of his beautiful work to bookend Viva La Vida.


Always In My Head is stunning, presumably it’s French electronic producer Madeon (Lady Gaga) adding some of the “magic” acknowledged in the credits on this track.


The song has experimental electro sounds moody synth washes and not too much else, just ethereal guitar and Cure/New Order submerged bass.


Martin, whose vocals are front and centre like never before, notes ``I think of you, I haven’t slept, I think I do, but I don’t forget …” before closing proceedings with ``This, I guess, is to tell you you were chosen out from the rest.”


Ink features folky guitar and skittish beats and Martin proclaiming “feels like there’s something broken inside.” Things get a little cheerier, at least musically, for the chorus with the line “All I know is that I love you so, so much that it hurts.” He does get a bit vocally upbeat at the end, when there’s some trademark U2-style guitar, but way back in the mix.


Another’s Arms may be the album’s (shattered) heart.


It’s a stark piano ballad, with a sample of female vocalist Jane Weaver’s Silver Chord, and stunted hip hop beats.


Martin sings ``Late night watching TV, used to be you here beside me, used to be your arms around me, your body on my body.”


He then just lets rip lyrically. Amateur psychologists and music reviewers (often the same thing) may project he’s singing about the thought of his wife with someone else here:``When the world means nothing to me — another’s arms, when the pain just rips right through me — another’s arms, when it’s just torture to me — another’s arms’’.


Sky Full of Stars was co-written with Swedish chart invader Avicii, and he clearly supplies that wordless hands-in-the-air chorus. Also unspoken is the fact this is the radio single the band knew this album needed.


It may not work quite as well as their previous nod to dance culture, Every Teardrop is a Waterfall,but Sky Full of Stars provides a welcome pulse at just the right time.


True Love ropes in Timbaland on beats, but it’s still decidedly downbeat, with an unexpectedly skew-whiff solo at the end.


Oceans uses acoustic guitar and what sounds like underwater sonar bleeps instead of drums. It gives off a Radiohead circa OK Computer feel as an emotionally-raw Martin sighs “I’m trying to change. I’m ready for a change” and “to find yourself alone in this world, to find yourself alone.” It also takes you right back to the early charm of Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head, before they worried about big musical moments for stadiums.


Even though it’s mainly ballads on the nine songs here, there’s no for-the-masses lighter-waver moment like Fix You. It’s not that kind of record.


Just as their heroes U2 have done, Coldplay know exactly when to take a detour and dream it all up again, just as they did on Viva La Vida.


They’re just lucky that they’ve banked enough goodwill that on this, their strangest but arguably most personal album, they’re likely to not lose too many passengers as they continue the interesting ride.


4 stars

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Entertainment Weekly (USA)


Source: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20816099,00.html


Some things about Coldplay never change — frontman Chris Martin's dreamy falsetto, the dramatic piano flourishes, a general air of melancholy — but the maestros of feelings-rock have never made the same album twice. There's a restlessness to the band that most acts in their position would find both exhausting and potentially career-threatening. But rather than rewrite ''Clocks'' ad infinitum, Coldplay use their self-doubt to explore new avenues. Though Brian Eno, who produced their last two efforts, isn't here, his specter is everywhere; Ghost pushes his influence deeper into a humming, atmospheric abyss — from the twinkling drones beneath ''Midnight'' to the synth-swirl outro on ''Oceans.'' The moodier numbers, especially ''Midnight'' and ''Ink,'' masterfully subvert Martin's haunting voice in the mix, which offers an apt metaphor for his recent separation from Gwyneth Paltrow: When the uncoupling came, he consciously got lost in the music.


In the scheme of Coldplay's career, Ghost Stories will likely be remembered as a transitional album. This is the sound of a band paying homage to their past — particularly 2011's hugely successful Mylo Xyloto — while pawing at the future. It's a drowsy experience, and often a true bummer; for all his skilled self-deprecation, Martin sounds genuinely heartbroken. But Ghost Stories can't help but feel like a prelude to something bigger and deeper. Best to check back in 2016.




Best Tracks:


''Another's Arms''

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a positive review of Ghost Stories




n the wake of recent Conscious Uncouplings, it's going to be difficult for anyone to separate an album of love songs from a band whose singer is currently mid-break up. So in what may be a vain attempt at professionalism, we're just gonna try to focus on the music here. Ready? Okay, here we go…


Three years since the massively successful Mylo Xyloto, and one of the world's most Marmite-y bands are back without regular contributor Brian Eno, and nothing as populist as a Rihanna duet. Aside from popping up on the soundtrack to The Hunger Games sequel, things have been relatively quiet from Chris Martin and co., and with Ghost Stories, the band have retained their recent modus operandi that they've had in place since Viva La Vida, namely just a handful of songs (9 tracks in total here) spread out over a short running time (42 minutes from start to end).


Unlike that other 'love them or hate them, you've got to respect them' rock band U2, Coldplay never get caught up singing about something as troublesome as politics or something as edgy as sex. Instead, their almost sole muse and interest is the prospect of love, be it the hope for it, the relishing in it, and most presently of all on this album, when it comes to an end.


Perhaps serendipitously, Ghost Stories is to Coldplay what 808 & Heartbreaks was to Kanye West. For the most part, these are songs overflowing with sadness, with peerless electronica inspired production throughout. In place of Eno, they've recruited some of the best producers not just in rock, but in current music, with Avicii ("A Sky Full Of Stars"), Timbaland ("True Love") and Madeon ("Always In My Head") providing their services.


Early singles "Magic" and "Midnight" provide insight into the mostly minimal DNA of the album, and anyone expecting a hands-in-the-air track similar "Paradise" or "Speed Of Sound" will be left disappointed. "Oceans" plays against a singular radar-y beep, the sense of isolation and longing left alone to engulf everything around. "True Love" works off a downbeat Timbaland-provided drum beat, filled with searing lyrics - 'For one last time tell you love me / If you don't then lie to me' – piling up on top of each other to scorch into your brain, while "Another's Arms" rides on several fractured beats and a haunting, wordless female vocal.


"Ink" is built around a hummable spine, one so contagious that Martin himself can't help but 'Do-do-do-do-dooo" along towards the end, and is one of the few upbeat moments to be found. "A Sky Full Of Stars" is perhaps the only chart-friendly song on here, and even though the lyrics seem to be full of positivity and optimism, the delivery by Martin and the song's surroundings on the album drown out most of the hope.


Album opener "Always In My Head" is a magical, hypnotic and altogether quite weird experience, prolonged verse followed by a prolonged chorus, like the opening gambit of a much longer song that never arrives, until the final minute of album closer "O", when the track is revisited with yet another chilling female vocal.


Inescapably, Ghost Stories sounds like a break-up album, but one without rage or hate, instead wallowing in depression. The most sonically experimental and lyrically insightful Coldplay album to date, both the lovers and haters are going to be surprised by this. Just don't expect to hear many of these songs on any future arena tours.



Review by Rory Cashin | FOUR STARS

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So, surprise! Critics must identify this as a "transition" album, not to be judged in its own right, because Chris is also "transitioning."


I mean, people mock Pitchfork, but at least they'll talk about the music beyond name-checking Avicii, Radiohead, and U2.

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Danish review of Ghost Stories (published on newspaper BT's website yesterday - a friend told me about this):


After Gwyneth Paltrow divorce: Coldplay’s whine album


By Henning Høeg (HOEG) Tuesday, 13 May 2014, 16:23 / translated by Nancy Boysen


Coldplay’s new album, 'Ghost Stories', is one of the most boring divorce albums I have ever listened to.

It is Chris Martin in whimpering fetal position.


When colleagues such as Ulf Lundell, Fleetwood Mac, Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and our own Michael Falch all have made an album with the same theme, then the songs have at least been a mix of all the wild and violent emotions that come with that kind of life change.


Unfortunately, it sounds as if Coldplay’s lead singer and lyricist who is getting a divorce from the Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow has written all lyrics while he was still on his knees howling at the moon.


Thus already identical tunes like 'True Love' and 'Ink' are burdened (haunted) by deeply unoriginal lyrics like 'I lost you, you let me go, but one last time, tell me you love me, and if you do not lie .. '. and my personal anti-favourite, 'All I know is I'm lost, whenever you go'.


Frankly Mister Martin! What happened to 'Viva la Vida'.


And one thing is the lyrics.. but also the music?!


Brian Eno has not produced this album. But despite the absence of the ambient wizard, most of the album is at a drawling, meditative pace where the sound (soundscape) is dominated by mellow keys and a discrete acoustic guitar.


And 'Ghost Stories' sounds more than anything else like a solo album from a left lead singer who probably should have taken a break / pause of reflection before pouring all his tears down into these nine monotonous templates.


[email protected], Coldplay, 'Ghost Stories', two out of six stars

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A positive review of Ghost Stories from the website of another Danish newspaper (4 out of 6 stars)




Coldplay: Heartfelt pain (Pain with heart)


Unlike Chris Martin’s marriage the songs are strong (solid) on pleasant break-up album


By: Thomas Treo (translated by Nancy Boysen)


The reviewer: 4 out of 6 stars; 37 readers: 5½ out of 6 stars


It is very difficult to find anything that rhymes with Gwyneth, but that also seems to be the only reason why Chris Martin does not mention his ex-wife directly on Coldplay’s new album ’Ghost Stories’.


From the frontman sings ’I think of you, I haven’t slept’ as the first line of the first song on the album (the opener) ’Always In My Head’, Paltrow barely leaves Martin’s romantic verses (lines of poetry).


Even on a break-up album, however, eternally kind Coldplay manage to appear likeable, and with’Ghost Stories’ the Englishmen present another inviting album that gently manages to push a bit humanity / human decency into the cynicism of the pop world.


Musically, the quartet’s mission is also personal, because - unlike the relatively electronic and puffed-up predecessor, ’Mylo Xyloto’ - Ghost Stories’ is restrained/soft, half-acoustic and minimalistic.


A soothing flow


Small beautiful songs such as’Magic’, ’Ink’ and ’True Love’ are quietly burning through, even though they are actually only glowing, whereas sparkling’Midnight’ is a beautiful pastiche of Bon Iver’s sound universe.


In the long run, Martin’s very feminine love sickness is almost too good to be true, and you are digging in vain after depth - such as on Bob Dylan’s divorce classic ’Blood on the Tracks’ - beneath the nice surface.


Martin’s life blood is without stains, but it leaves behind charming pop songs, and the melancholy flows soothingly until the last song but one, ’A Sky Full of Stars’.


Suddenly the singer has Red Bull in his veins in an ill-timed co-operation with the Swedish house-DJ Avicii who activates an uplifting beat and spoils the mood / atmosphere.


Now, when the atmosphere generated by the other songs was otherwise so gloomy and dark.

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Review: Coldplay, Ghost Stories


The Huffington Post



Scheduled for American release by Atlantic Records on May 19, Coldplay's Ghost Stories is worlds away from their previous work. Ghost Stories is at once both a stripped-down experimental project and a progressive EDM album. With production credits to Paul Epworth, Rik Simpson, and Avicii, Coldplay has simultaneously honored the old and welcomed the new. The songs on this album are deep and airy, haunting and cheery, and typical and progressive. Ghost Stories sounds like an alternative direction Coldplay could have taken post-Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends in 2008, rather than the one the band chose with 2011's Mylo Xyloto. The album artwork of a medieval-styled white etching over a night sky and dark ocean lend the celestial quality to Ghost Stories that sets it apart from Coldplay's earlier work.


Opening and closing with the same sort of angelic children's choir's sustained vocals, the album as a final product is delicately curated, each song serving a unique purpose. And with the hymnal mélange of vocals and synthesizers, "Always In My Head" adds steady percussion with long waves of relaxed guitar riffs. With an abrupt ending, "Always In My Head" leads directly into "Magic," the first single from Ghost Stories, originally released in March. With more pronounced percussion than before, Chris Martin's almost mournful voice fades in and out of cooing and calculated praise. "Magic" seems like a tribute of sorts to love and the sheer wonder of it all.


Keeping in the theme of heavy percussion to lead a track, "Ink" surprises in just about every other way. Musically, this track is upbeat, but lyrically, it's pained. By incorporating female background vocals at parts in the song, Coldplay adds another dimension of depth to a song whose vocals could have very well been shallower. In addition, the band very successfully uses a sitar to introduce the Eastern musical element of raga, which substantially complexifies the song.


"Midnight" was the second single to be released from Ghost Stories, co-written and co-produced by Jon Hopkins, the same collaborator whose influence created the ambient "Life In Technicolor" masterpieces on Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. Distant, distorted, and difficult to understand, the vocals on this track are truly discomforting. About halfway through the track, the whole song shifts dramatically toward formulaic, fast-paced trance music. "Midnight" leaves you pleasantly confused, somewhere between wondering what you just listened to and glad you'd heard it.


For a moment, you might be fooled by "A Sky Full of Stars." Its opening piano chords sound like an up-tempo rendition of A Rush of Blood to the Head's "Clocks." Very quickly, the song's influence from Avicii shines through. As Coldplay's third and final single before Ghost Stories' release, "A Sky Full of Stars" was surely a surprise to fans. Characteristic of EDM, the music is repetitive, the lyrics shallow. There's reverb and synthesized tambourine, but there's also acoustic guitar and Chris Martin's voice in falsetto. Initially, it's hard to call "A Sky Full of Stars" a typical "Coldplay song," but this single eventually proves itself to be an evolved version of the Coldplay archetype. At each refrain, you can imagine Chris Martin dancing in ecstasy on stage, arms flailing animatedly. Despite all the low-end frequency and heavy production, "A Sky Full of Stars" is surprisingly light and airy. As the song fades-out, flighty, ambient notes dominate the soundscape. "A Sky Full of Stars" is a song whose dynamism increases with every listen.


Ghost Stories is undoubtedly a departure from the comfortable for Coldplay and for fans. The variety of songs on the album is vast, with songs about love and loss seemingly scattered all over the place. The bookended choral music acts as a soothing agent. An experimental concept album, Ghost Stories hints at another freshly-tapped side of Coldplay that will hopefully come forward in future projects, as well. Immensely diversifying Coldplay's catalogue, Ghost Stories is a beautiful piece of art manifested.

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He probably got bullied by Chris in primary school :L I cannot see how you can hate a band so much. I think we have the definition of a computer-nazi and a showboater wanting to get attention by forcing as much hate-infused, narcisstic shit out of his extremely tight arsehole as he can :lol: Just smile and wave, Coldplayers, just smile and wave...

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